It’s January 13th today. Not a notable day as such, unless it’s your birthday or you win tonight’s lottery, or perhaps are a scientist who on this fateful day discovers the chemical element plumium.

Actually 13th   January will probably be a notable day for millions, particularly those of a superstitious disposition as it was a Friday. Strike the first paragraph, and you in Edinburgh try not to make as much noise eating those crisps!

Friday the 13th assumes a high profile in the calendar of those who believe in omens of bad luck. It’s a day when great store is held by individuals that subscribe to the superstitions of folklore passed down through the generations.


I’m not overly superstitious, although I don’t like tempting fate, which I suppose indicates I believe in the concept of poor fortune on some level.

Common sense dictates that every day in the calendar holds bad luck of differing magnitudes for people around the globe. Why should Friday 13th be any worse? ….. Unless you live with Jason Vorhees of course!

Apparently the fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskevidekatriaphobia. I’m not really sure why I’ve added that because, like me, you’ll probably forget the name by the end of this paragraph.

If you do manage to recall the name, it may come in handy if you ever play Scrabble, as the word is worth 2,001,059 points. Unless it’s a double word, when it’s double that; or even a triple word then it’s treble that figure. I know that last sentence is obvious, but I’m trying to pad this out a bit ….. Give me a break!

As far as I’m concerned, if you can remember how to correctly spell paraskevidekatriaphobia you deserve 6 million points and victory at Scrabble!


No one is definitively sure where or when the superstition surrounding Friday the 13th started. Some scholars place it back to possible biblical origins, as 13 people attended Jesus’ last supper the day before his crucifixion on a Friday.

Other historians claim that its origins manifest from Friday October 13th 1307, when Philip IV of France arrested hundreds of the Knights Templar.

In his novel Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown cites the superstition starting after the execution of Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay, which took place on Friday the 13th. Just prior to his death, he cursed the Pope and the King of France, and legend has it that this spread misfortune down the ages.

There is a local man in East Leeds who claims that the date holds bad luck after Friday 13th August 1965, when the Skyliner fish and chip shop completely rang out of cod! …… However, according to a different local source that is ridiculous notion which bears not one shred of truth! …… It was haddock!

As I said above I’m not overly superstitious, although I’d say I’m cautious about ridiculing the validity of the superstitions. If truth be told, on occasion I’m a bit confused what is good and bad luck.

For example, I’m mystified about whether black cats are supposed to represent good or bad fortune. My research sources seem contradictory meaning I currently remain unfulfilled in my search for the truth. As a result, when I see a black cat I don’t know whether to be concerned or go provisionally book a cruise.

Last year 13th May was a Friday. If memory serves me correct, my wife was away at her parents being subject to her mum’s delightful ideology of “If you can’t say anything negative about someone, say nothing at all!”

With my wife away listening to her mum’s old wives superstitions, such as why on a Friday 13th she walks backwards for 50 metres if she sees a crow on the same side of the road, I took the opportunity to spend time with my parents.

This consisted of being in the company of amiable hosts who provided a warm, funny and welcoming environment; not forgetting a superb dinner. Mater and pater greeted me like the prodigal son, for whom nothing was too much….. Well, apart from the cost of the pork joint they’d bought for dinner.

We talked convivially for hours about family, sports, the future and the shared wish someone would discover the chemical element plumium. Having said that the evening wasn’t all plain sailing.

Everything seemed to be going well, until I helped with the washing up, during which time I inadvertently placed a spatula in the wrong part of the cutlery draw. I thought I’d got away with it and my OCD dad hadn’t noticed, so went sheepishly slipped back into the dining room.

Like a fool I’d forgotten it was Friday 13th and a few minutes later my dad stormed into the dining room like this!! …….



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